A software engineer in Nigeria has recounted how he was abducted by armed SARS officials in Ketu area of Lagos, assaulted and asked to pay N1 million before he regains his freedom.
The software Engineer, Toni Astro took to his social media page to recount his horrific experience with armed officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), how they abducted him, seized his phone, gadgets, assaulted him and locked him up in Lagos.
So yeah 😪, SARZ messed up my Saturday and I get to be locked up because I’m a software developer.
I grabbed a bike via one of the bike hailing service in Nigeria from Abiola gardens to Ketu. So I could get a BRT from there home.
About getting to ketu, two men in police like uniform stopped the bike, and told me to get down. I immediately did with the mindset that the bike guy did something wrong.
They asked for my phone and I unlocked it and gave them. They told the bike guy to end the trip and go. So they gave me my phone to pay the guy from the mobile app. After 20 seconds they said I’m going with them to the station.
And I was like what station?
Next thing they pointed guns at my leg, telling me to enter another bike they stopped and go with them to their station. I entered and one of the men asked for a million naira and he’d let me go.
And I’m like 1 million?? Where would I get that from. I told him I’m no what you think. I’m a software developer at this company. He said everything na yahoo yahoo still. He physically harassed me on the bike still. To every onlooker on the street, I was a criminal or some sort.
We got to the station, if I remember well ogudu area H command. We walked in to the extreme back of the station. More like some messed up rooms or something.
They collected my bike which contained my laptop, watch charger, phone chargers and office jotters. As soon as they saw the laptop, the other policemen there said you’re the one spoiling the economy. They told me to open it and immediately I did.
About 4 other policemen were there, making a total of 6. Next thing was slaps and punch, here and there. All I could hear was confess you’re and internet frauster or not? I kept saying I’m not a fraudster, im a developer for a company and all.
These guys took off my hoodie, and dragged me to the cell, locked me up with no proof or evidence that I was what they claimed me to be. I asked that I make calls, and they said that would be after I write my statement. One of them came to me and asked that I pay 500k.
And I’m like 500k? From where? I said my student ID card is in my wallet, you could check it and see. They said they ain’t checking any ID Card. They went through my emails and WhatsApp conversations and found nothing.
The beatings continued from about 4 police men, I requested that I called my relatives or anyone and they didn’t let me, One said I’d sleep in that cell till Monday except im ready to confess what I do for a living.
So they went through my emails and saw my account balance, next thing was you’d go to the bank to withdraw every dime in this account now and pay us. Money I worked for ?? What did I do?
I already told them my dad was sick, and I was on my way home to help out . I told them 80% of the money was for dads treatment and the rest for my transport to work everyday. I explained the whole case to them. They said they don’t care about his health. I must pay them.
So they started threatening me with guns, and one said we’d take you to kiri kiri tonight. Another said we’d call EFCC .Even after they found no evidence or trace of fraud? They went out to talk after 1 hour of threatening conversations and physical harassment.
They requested I bring half of the money in my account for them, stating (man must chop). I just wanted to leave there, and I didn’t want it to be dark. It was about 5pm already. I then asked if I could just transfer instead of going to the bank to withdraw.
And they said so you’d come back to trace us. The other ones started the beatings again. They told me to take a bike to a bank close to the station at ogudu, and get the money.
I left, went straight to the station to get the money. It was late, I couldn’t tell anyone to lend me a phone when I looked all battered. I got to the ATM, I couldn’t even think straight to get the correct pin. I got the money and took the bike back to the station.
As soon as I got back, they took me back to the cell and counted the money. Then they said you can check all your things if they’re complete. All that was in my head was remote job isn’t it. I have to leave this country at the end.
I packed all my things, collected my watch and left the station at about 6pm. I’m home and safe now, but today still feels like a dream. I was physically harassed for no reason and paying someone or a group of people for no reason out of the money I worked for.
I’ve been hearing people’s experiences and most of them complaining about not having an ID card. I had an ID card but they chose not to see it. All they wanted to hear was me accepting their accusation of what I wasn’t.